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Ask Jackie headline

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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Q and A: drying citrus peels and storing smoked meats

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Drying citrus peels

Now that citrus season is here how do I dry the skins from oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc. I don’t have a dryer. I know they are expensive to buy the peels.

Brandy Gunderson
Wyoming, Michigan

Luckily, citrus peels are quite easy to dry. First, wash them thoroughly as they are sprayed heavily. Then towel or air dry them and peel or save the peels when you use them. Scrape off the bitter white inner membrane then simply slice them very thinly and lay them out on a cookie sheet. They usually air dry easily. If your house is humid, you may have to put the cookie sheets in the oven and turn it to its lowest setting the dry them. When they are dry, I usually whiz them in my blender and make a powder. I further dry this before storing, just to make sure all the moisture is out. Then store in an airtight jar and you are good to go. — Jackie

Storing smoked meats

How would we store smoked meats when we don’t want to count on electricity for a freezer or refrigerator? We don’t have a root cellar yet but we do have a “seal-a-meal” and pressure canner.

Linda Starck
Port Angeles, Washington

Can up those smoked meats! I do it with all sorts of smoked meat from hams, bacon, and jerky to trout and salmon. This is really the only sane way for long term storage of smoked meats. Even freezing it isn’t dependable as a power outage can put you out of business in a hurry. I had that happen once and that was enough. Luckily, I was able to do a marathon canning bee and save most of my meat. — Jackie

6 Responses to “Q and A: drying citrus peels and storing smoked meats”

  1. Laura Says:

    in response to Jill and her rum vinegar quest, I had to search it out and found this article:

    Several years ago I made a blood orange vodka with similar directions after months of aging the “vodka” was not only the best extract I’ve used it was easily turned into a simple syrup for pound cake, yumm.

  2. Susan Says:

    One of the few treats in our diet that we don’t grow for ourselves is those “Cuties” mandarin oranges. The skin is so thin that it’s quick and easy to dry, and has an extra bit of flavor that oranges don’t have. I dry them a couple of days, then put in a coffee grinder that’s dedicated to herbs until it’s broken up into small pieces, then dry a bit more before storing. BEST use is to put a pinch into some olive oil and either use on winter salad or as an appetizer dip for bits of sourdough bread.

  3. Debbie Burgess Says:

    Jackie, how do you use the citrus powder that you make?

  4. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    I often use it when I bake, putting a pinch (or more) into a cake batter or pie filling. I even use it in “plain” cookies for more flavor and zing. Powdered citrus peel is also great when added to stir fried recipes. Susan’s tips also sound good. Once you start using it, you’ll happily find many more uses for it as well.


  5. Debbie Burgess Says:

    Thanks, Jackie!

  6. Farmgirlwanabe Says:

    Hi Jackie

    Thanks so much for advising about dry orange peels and Brandy thanks for asking the question as I would never have thought of doing this myself. I use dried lemon powder (store bought) for some Indian/Thai curry recipes – I am going to try making this orange powder and seeing how it fits with other foods.

    Ah love your blog Jackie, wish I had more time in the day to keep up with it every day.

    M Blaney (Farmgirlwanabe)

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